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Housing benefit helps you pay your rent if you are on a low income.
Can anyone claim housing benefit?
You can claim housing benefit if you live in:
Housing benefit cannot help with mortgage payments. If you own your own home, you may be able to claim council tax benefit.
Housing benefit is payable in respect of the household. This includes single people, lone parents and married or unmarried couples with or without children. The property must be occupied as the home and there has to be a liability to pay rent.
Claims may only be made in respect of one property at a time except in special circumstances, for example, if you have to vacate the home temporarily through fear of violence.
There are three routes for claiming housing benefit:
If you receive Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) we may be able to give you enough benefit to pay all of your rent. However, if your rent is too high we have to reduce the amount we pay.
If you do not get Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance (income based) the amount of benefit we can give you depends on the income you have coming in every week, as well as other things including:
We cannot give you any help towards water charges, heating charges and certain other charges including meals.
If you have any other adults living with you such as grown up children we may have to reduce the amount of benefit we can pay you.
If you think you may be entitled to benefit, you need to complete and return a Benefits Application Form (PDF File, 121kb). You can also pick up a form from any of our local offices. Alternatively, call 01636 650000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are elderly or have mobility problems we can arrange to visit you in your own home. Please contact us on 01636 650000 to arrange a visit.
Find out what you may be entitled to with our web benefits calculator.
Severe cold weather payments
If you're on a low income, a cold weather payment may be available to help you for each week of very cold weather in your area.
Debt advice and financial Support
A number of local and national advice services may also be able to help with financial issues.
Since 1996 the Audit Commission has run the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), an exercise that matches electronic data within and between public and private sector bodies to prevent and detect fraud. This includes police authorities, local probation boards, fire and rescue authorities as well as local councils and a number of private sector bodies.
The exercise that was undertaken in 2012/13 helped trace almost £203 million in fraud, error and overpayments in England. For nearly two decades, the NFI has enabled the participants to detect fraud, overpayment and error totalling £1.17 billion.
At Newark and Sherwood District Council for the last round of Housing Benefit matches 2 have been classed as fraud, which resulted in an overpayment of £8,481. A further 27 errors were identified, these not treated as fraud, involving overpayments of £18,033.
The use of data for NFI purposes continues to be controlled to ensure compliance with data protection and human rights legislation.
Newark & Sherwood District Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. On occasions the information we hold may be shared with other bodies, such as those responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud and for other lawful purposes.
The Audit Commission appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of the Council. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises.
Data matching involves comparing computer records, usually containing personal information, held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match.
The purpose of a data matching exercise is to allow potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it indicates that there may be an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.
The Audit Commission currently requires us to participate in a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching for each exercise, the data we are required to provide is set out in the Audit Commission’s guidance.
The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.
All Data matching undertaken by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice which can be found at http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/national-fraud-initiative/code-of-data-matching-practice
That sets out how the data matching exercise is carried and puts in place certain safeguards in relation to the personal information collected during the exercise.
For further information on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/fairprocessing
For further information on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and data matching, see the Level 3 Privacy Notice at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/fraud/nfi/pages/fair-processing-notice.aspx or contact the Head of NFI on 0303 444 8322 or email email@example.com
For further information on the data matching exercise at Newark & Sherwood District Council, please contact the Information Governance team on 01636 655216 or Phil Ward, Revenues and Benefits Business Manager on 01636 650000.
For further information and a full list of electronic forms:
For customer comments:
Newark and Sherwood District Council